|Justice Department is reportedly preparing antitrust probe of Google|
Published an hour ago
Jordan Novet @jordannovet
- Alphabet has faced antitrust probes before, but not from the U.S. Justice Department.
- In 2018 Alphabet had $136.8 billion in revenue.
The U.S. Justice Department is planning an antitrust investigation into Alphabet’s Google subsidiary, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The effort will touch on web search and other parts of Google, the report said.
The report comes amid discussion from politicians and the public about whether large technology companies should be broken up. The Justice Department launched a major antitrust case against Microsoft in 1998 that led to several rules the company had to follow for years.
Alphabet, which racked up $136.8 billion in revenue in 2018, has faced antitrust pressure in the past.
In 2010, the company received an antitrust complaint from the European Commission regarding ranking of shopping search results and ads, which resulted in Google being fined $2.7 billion in 2017, according to Alphabet’s latest annual report. In 2016, the EC complained about practices related to Google’s Android operating system, leading to a $5.1 billion charge in 2018.
And in March the European Union ordered Google to pay around $1.7 billion because of advertising behavior.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who announced her presidential candidacy in December, has pressed for breaking up tech companies like Google. In a widely read post published on Medium in March, Warren said she was interested in appointing regulators who would be interested in undoing what she called “anti-competitive mergers,” including Google’s DoubleClick, Nest and Waze. “Current antitrust laws empower federal regulators to break up mergers that reduce competition,” she wrote.
Google and the Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.